Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday

Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday

Ben Frederickson answers all of your Cardinals, Blues, St. Louis City, Mizzou and SLU questions in Tuesday's 11 a.m. live chat.

    Greetings, chatters. Happy Tuesday. Hope you all are enjoying the beautiful weather now that the snow -- what? -- is gone. Blues are showing signs of life again. Cards' starting pitching has locked in, but offense let Wainwright hanging last night. Plenty to discuss. As always, you will lead us. Let's roll.
    Another cardinal outfielder (Garcia) excelling away from the organization. It’s starting to become a trend. And like with Randall G , they got absolutely nothing for him
    How can an organization Make trades with absolutely no return on investment? It’s more of a donation that a trade.l
    How the tune has changed on Grichuk among some fans is truly interesting to me. He's now different in Toronto than he was here. Same player. He's just getting steady playing time and Toronto is stomaching the strikeouts. Grichuk's adjusted on-base plus slugging percentage with the Blue Jays is 107, seven points above league average. During his time with the Blue Jays he's exactly the same, at 107, seven points above league average. No one was wailing for Grichuk's departure when he left, and no one would be singing his praises if he was still here. He's a big power hitter who strikes out a lot. Cardinals fans were not happy with that. Could they have made a better trade for him? Sure. The Cardinals didn't think Dominic Leone was going to have the trap door of health problems derail him. He was decent when healthy but couldn't stay healthy. No debate there.
    Adolis Garcia is not a Grichuk-like situation to me. He's an Arozarena-type situation. Both were outfielders the Cardinals deemed as not the answers without much of a chance to prove otherwise. If those guys turn out to be long-lasting answers elsewhere, that's different than giving Grichuk a lot of chances before moving on. With Garcia and Arozarena, the key is going to be continuing to mash when pitchers adjust. Neither will be getting fastballs for long, unless pitchers are not paying attention.
    Garcia would bite worse than Arozarena if he proves to be a star. He was traded for cash considerations. The Cardinals at least got Liberatore in the Arozarena swap.
    Hello Ben. Well, the pitching has come around. 8 straight quality starts. Only 10 earned runs in those 8 starts. That would be a 1.76 ERA! But we are 4-4 in those games and scored only 3 runs in those losses. The team HAS scored a bunch of runs in a few games but those are the outliers. The team is 12th out of 15th in the NL in batting while the pitching is in the middle of the pack (due to early issues). So, once again, when will the Cardinals move on from Albert and take his analytics nonsense with him? It's obvious he is messing up the hitters with focusing on launch angle, exit velocity and hard hit %. What happened to just scouting the opposing pitchers and just hitting the ball away from the fielders. There is more to hitting than just exit velocity and launch angle. Albert has had 3 years to build this offense and each year they have regressed. This team is going nowhere until they quit complicating the hitters approach and just let them play. See the ball....hit the ball!!
    You'll be disappointed to hear the front office is still very sold on Jeff Albert.
    Could that change?
    Anything could depending on how the team performs.
    Right now the Cardinals are averaging. 220 with a .299 on-base percentage and a .380 slugging percentage. That's a team OPS of .679. I bring that up because that OPS, if it holds, would be the lowest the team has had since Jeff Albert came on board.
    And we all know the numbers weren't so hot in 2019 and 2020 either.
    Now, it's been 22 games. Balls should be flying better as the weather gets warmer. The Cardinals have finally gone with a top five of the lineup that makes the most sense, and Matt Carpenter's struggles are not weighing things down as often -- though there's no guarantee his replacements will be that much better, at least not at the moment.
    We just heard John Mozeliak say at the end of the day results matter when talking about Carpenter.
    At some point that's going to have to apply to the hitting coach, too..
    But right now there does not seem to be anything but determination to see this through, as evidenced by Mozeliak completely giving the hitting coach a pass for Carpenter's struggles. That didn't seem very fair to me.
    Binnington had one of best games in awhile yesterday. How much did it have to do w getting Bartuzzo and Mikkola ( gritty, good board work, long reach, shot blockers) both in a game in front of him?
    I really like what Niko Mikkola brings, and I love that he leveled an Avalanche player seconds after hitting the ice for the first time. Helped set a tone.
    The Blues were on the attack after Binnington made his first few saves, so that helped.
    It also helped that Colorado was without three of its top-five goal scorers.
    Let's not overlook that.
    Hoskins first HR was no fluke as he had lined out in his previous AB. Why did Schildt allow Wainright to pitch to him in the 9th only down a run? Was sentimentally getting him a complete game clouding his thinking as that decision or at least pitching around him (what about Yadi being a coach on the field?) let a possible win slip away?
    It's spelled Shildt, not Schildt.
    We gotta start spelling the manager's name right, chatters.
    He's not new anymore.
    Shildt stuck with Wainwright because he was rolling and it's late April. Let him eat, and live with the consequences. I can't imagine what the tone of the chat would be today if Shildt went to Hicks or Reyes, both of which have been walking too many batters lately, and the decision to take out Wainwright blew up on him. There would be accountability demanded, for sure. And it's a different story, too, if that Arenado ball clears the walk at the end. It was a great baseball game. The Cardinals came out on the wrong end. Sometimes, that's the story.
    Wainwright had been efficient enough to handle the ninth. He had not walked a batter. Two solo home runs, six hits and no walks should be a winning combination whether it takes you one pitcher or five to get there.
    After tomorrow’s near certain rainout, will the club reschedule and play a day/night doubleheader on Thur?
    That would make sense to me.
    Cards should learn from Saturday's rain delay and get out in front of it instead of making fans sit around for hours for a game everyone knew was going to be pushed to late afternoon.
    Garcia 5 hr 13 rbi .269
    Arenado 4 12 .244
    35 million vs league minimum
    The front office has no idea how to evaluate talent they have in the system already only outside evaluation seems to work for them
    I'll take Arenado over 162 games. You?
    The Cards portray a look of a team that’s not very good or not very bad. Most pundits (excluding the local media) see Mil as the best team in the NLC. The July trade deadline is a long way off. How does this team stay close to Mil over the next 10 weeks? With SD grabbing the first wild card and better teams in the NLE, the wild card is likely not an option this year.
    Check those P-D predictions again. Our pal DG picked the Brewers to win the division. I picked the Cardinals, and while they are certainly not beating the door down at the moment, it's still far too early to regret that pick. I don't think any NL Central team is going to run away with this division. I imagine it will be more of a huddle, with one clear outlier in the Pirates. As for the national predictions, I know USA Today picked the Cardinals to win the division. Same for ESPN. And MLB.com. So, maybe I'm reading different stuff?
    You have to win series against division opponents to win the division. Complicated, no. But it's the truth. The Cards are 1-2 in series against NL Central foes, but just swept their last one against the Reds. That's something to build on. The starting pitching is the cornerstone of how this team will or won't win the division. It's looking strong. Now the offense needs to do its part consistently. Sound familiar?
    BenFred,

    Do you think the Cardinals will hover around the .500 mark with this inconsistent offense? Even with masterful pitching, they are losing games.
    They haven't had masterful pitching for very long. It led to them to a sweep of the Reds. They lost a game last night to a team that had as good of a starting pitcher. Wheeler was dealing.
  • BenFred I thought you’re recent article on Matt Carpenters trials and tribulations to be spot on. My question is were you surprised at John Mozeliak’s very frank and very public assessment of Carp literally the next day? I can only assume the POBO was merely giving honest responses to questions being asked. I believe it’s one thing for fans and sports writers to publicly complain long and loud about individual performance as the players are big boys and rather well paid in a very public forum but wondering if MO might have been more respectful by making his point to Carp in a private meeting. In my opinion he is clearly greasing the skids for Carp’s exit stage left. I look forward to your comment. Thanks
    Mozeliak wasn't disrespectful, but he was blisteringly honest and frank. He said as spring training neared its end that he can't keep giving the same optimistic answers regarding Carpenter moving forward if he results don't change, and the results didn't change, so he is changing his answers. It's clear to me that he's seen enough to decide he doesn't want to see Shildt bending over backward to find starts for Carpenter. Some will interpret that at assuming Shildt was, and maybe that's fair. But again, it wasn't Shildt who gave Carpenter the contract extension, and I would venture to guess that if you injected Shildt with truth serum he would have preferred an upgraded left-handed bat for the bench this offseason in addition to Arenado. So, Shildt kind of winds up taking the heat as Mozeliak removes himself from the pro-Carpenter camp. That's how it read to me. But most importantly, it was a clear change in tone from the leader of the front office that it's time to put Carpenter on the bench for at least a while. I said as Tyler O'Neill neared his return  that the team was going to have to decide what it wanted more -- to really sort out which outfielders can and cannot be trusted, or to keep finding ways to try to get Carpenter going. Both could be juggled when O'Neill and Bader were out. Not when both are back, or even one. It's clear now that the outfield is going to be the priority.
    I'm really worried about Goldschmidt. Does anyone have a sense of what's going on with him?
    I'm not fully convinced he's all good from the back tweak that kept him out of the home opener.
    He was right back in there but his swing has looked a little limited at times.
    More groundballs. Fewer line drives. Very little opposite field action.
    He just doesn't look quite like himself at times.
    He's not going to make excuses or blame anything, and operates under the idea that he's good to go if he's in the lineup, but the guy missed the home opener, and that's no small thing. He's been on the injured list one time in his career. Fractured hand in 2014. That means he's played through a lot of uncomfortable stuff. I don't rule that out here.
    Will this be the year the Cardinals make a meaningful acquisition mid-season? Because the pitching is rounding into shape, but the lineup is at least two bats short (any outfielder not named Carlson), and maybe three if DeJong can't turn it around. O'Neill is not the answer, no matter how much the team wants him to be (if wishing made it so, MCarp would be dominating). This division is there for the taking, but the lineup will be the make or break element of this team, and it needs help. Will they or won't they get it, BF?
    A trade-deadline addition of a starter and a bat has made sense since the Cardinals left spring training. Three bats? No, I don't see that happening. The Cardinals are hoping they won't need any bats by then, but we have plenty of reasons to doubt that optimism.
    Great game by Waino last night. Almost as rare as seeing a no hitter nowadays. So much for the "3rd time through the order" nonsense.
    Tell that to the folks who think he should have been yanked :)
    Wheeler would look good in the Cardinals' rotation. When were we supposedly close to trading for him at the deadline again? And he was a free-agent after that year so he would not necessarily still be on the team, correct? What kind of contract did he get in FA and were the Cardinals interested in him then, too?
  • The Cardinals showed interest in him when he was being moved as a rental in 2019. The Mets wanted Tyler O'Neill or Harrison Bader, and additional prospect(s). Cardinals thought that was too rich, so no Wheeler. Wheeler's deal with the Phillies was for five years and $118,000. Baseball in general seemed to be surprised by that kind of a commitment for him.
    You wrote an article last week discussing soccer’s Super League and Stan Kroenke. The national media unbiasedly reported this as mainly being driven by Real Madrid and the Spanish / Italian teams. Within hours / days Stan’s Arsenal had pulled out. I can respect the Post readers like Stan bashing, but it appears you wrote an article pandering to what your local readers wanted to hear rather then a fact based article. A bit unprofessional and perhaps an apology is owed to Stan?
    Lol. Good one. I hope this is sarcasm.
    Do you think Stan just stumbled into a potential vice-chair role for the Super League?
    And are you aware of how Arsenal, specifically, would have benefited from it due to its lack of competitiveness since Kroenke took over?
    The American sports owner influence was a big part of the failed breakaway, and it flopped.
    Should we get (cautiously) optimistic about the Blues, Mr. Ben? I know Waldman is the 'flavor of the month' but I'd like to see Mikkola in there regularly. The guy has a potential to be that rangy 'shut down' defenseman.. Doesn't have to be Parayko offensively, but the blues are sorely 'missing' the likes of Boumeester and Petro--who could shut down top players on the opposing team. Blues need that as much as anything right now... If they are hemmed in their own zone due to shaky D, that also affects their ability to create any sustained offense.. Put Niko IN my brother!!!!
    He helped make your points for you last night.
    If Parayko is going to be out a bit, he will get plenty of time.
    I like how Walman has played.
    They're going to need all of these guys depending on the matchup and moment.
    We saw during the Cup run how the best Blues team needed different heroes on different nights. Walman and Mikkola could both be those types of players, heroes one game or series and less of a factor in another. But of course for those playoff opportunities to exist, the Blues' best players have to play well enough to get into the playoffs and preferably enter it with a little bit of a head of steam.
    The encouraging thing about last night was some important names got off the skids in various ways.
    How would you rate Shildt’s performance so far? I don’t think he has managed like a former MOY in his 3rd year. The delay with moving Carlson up and the persistent usage and defense of Carpenter is a bad look.
    Carlson's placement is pretty much my only gripe. I'm 99.9 percent sure I said in these chats back in spring training that he looked like the best option for the No. 2 hitter, and I've always been a fan of the Goldschmidt third and Arenado fourth look. I don't understand slow-playing the guy who hit cleanup in the postseason, and did it well. I don't knock Shildt for trying to get Carpenter going for a few reasons: the outfield was thinned by injuries, and the front office didn't give him a better option for a left-handed bat. What I don't get is Carpenter hitting fifth for the bulk of those chances. There was never a good reason given for the strategy there, other than just hope, I guess.
    Ben, The outfield has to still be a priority and MO did the correct thing with a public statement that its the direction to go. With the group of current outfielders excluding DC, they all seem to do the same thing. Some success gets found then they immediately widen the strike zone on themselves in the following AB's. Sabotaging their success instead of building on it. This has to be a mindset thing right? IMO with Harrison still out why not get more play from Dean? his AB's seem more consistent.
    You're describing a pretty common theme among young/inexperienced hitters who are trying to establish a foothold in the majors. The same complaints would be voiced about many players in that position. The Cardinals just have a lot of them under intense scrutiny: Williams, O'Neill, Bader, Dean, etc. Carlson is not totally removed from that group, either. This is what the Cardinals kind of signed up for entering this season, with hopes that it rewards them as the season goes along with players finding that foothold and building a lasting role from there. With O'Neill, it's quite obvious. What we saw at spring training was a locked-in hitter who was laying off bad pitches and not trying to do too much with the good ones. He was hitting the ball all over the place. He was not lunging. Then the season started, and he was. The downtime with the injury seems to have helped him rest a little bit. Question is, how long can he sustain it? That's been the problem for him, and he's one of the most experienced of this bunch.
  • Congratulations on a excellent article last week on Carpenter. You were right on. My question is if the strikeouts and outs continue where are they going with him? Are they content to keep a .080 hitter with limited defensive abilities and really not much else to offer take a spot on the bench? if not are we talking a release from the club or do you think Mozeliak will offer a "face saving ' gesture to Carpenter encouraging him to retire ? Your thoughts?
    The re-benching of Carpenter can fairly be moved toward another step closer toward a release, sure, because it raises the question of what role can Carpenter have? If he can't hit, he can't be an effective bat off the bench, right? Carpenter is a lifelong Cardinal with a significant contract in hand through the end of the season, one that would cost the Cardinals something around $20.5 million to cut ties with today. They are not a team that refuses to cut ties with a player, but they are a team that very much dislikes paying players to go away, especially players making a good chunk of money. Every step back for Carpenter is going to come with some sort of a reset. He now gets a chance to prove he can be an effective bat off the bench now that the outfield is getting healthy. If he can't, then another scaling back could come. And there's only one left really. Carpenter does not sound like a player ready to retire, and he has many millions of dollars worth of reasons to keep playing, or sitting.
    O’Neill mentioned that his time on the DL allowed him to reset and refocus. Any chance the team uses that approach with Carpenter, as opposed to playing him in every game while he continues to struggle?
    If he's hurt, he would be on the injured list.
    I don't think he would be willing to go along with a fake injury, and the Cardinals insist they don't play fast and loose with that.
    Hey Ben. Thanks for the great work on the chats...keep it up! Was hoping you might help me understand something that I think about every time I hear the topic come up.

    Bader is nearing a return, but the idea is to have him possibly platoon since he struggles against RHP.

    I've never quite understood this. The majority of pitchers in MLB are RHP, and the same would hold true, I suspect, throughout the minors. Likewise, college, high school, etc. If a guy is good enough to make it to the majors, it's likely he's faced more RHP than LHP. So, why all of a sudden the struggles against a certain handed pitcher once arriving in the bigs? I get better competition and all, but I've never quite understood how this can be the case. I get it against LHP. Anyway, thanks for taking my question.
    Right-handed hitters seem to see pitchers from left-handers better, and vice versa.
    It's not always a blanket thing. There are some guys who have reverse splits. There are some guys who don't have drastic spits at all.
    But traditionally, that's the way things lean.
    As for what changes, the pitchers in the majors are the best at any level. And the best hitters hit against both righties and lefties. But there are some guys who have proven to be major league caliber hitters against a certain handed pitcher, but not against the other kind. Ideally you would have a lineup of guys who mashed everyone. But for teams that don't -- and most don't - -you can get improved production by playing the right splits.
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